Jazz Girl wrote:The addition of Renesme into the picture muddies the water a bit, I suppose. She was not suppose to have that. None of them were. But, in a way, I see Renesme not so much as a reward or another reprieve for Bella, but as one for Edward. He too fought fate for so long. He knew, from the moment he witnessed the vision in Alice's head, what Bella was meant to be, what fate had in store for both of them. But, just like Bella and the wedding, he dug in his heels and tried to find any and all ways around it (including quite possibly the stupidest action ever taken by the handicapped y-chromosome set). In yielding to fate, he found not only everything he ever wanted, but everything he never thought he could ask for. [/color]
I totally agree with this. Renesme was for Edward. The Saga is just as much about him as it is about her. They both resist temptation and remain good enough to attain the impossible - an immortal child.
However, I think Nessie serves another purpose as well. I truly believe that SM sees Nessie as Bella's final act of sanctifying heroism. Nessie was supposed to be there from the very beginning of the saga, wether we like it or not. Unlike most of the fandom, I like the child. But I see Nessie as the perfect way for both Edward and Bella to earn the HEA we see. Please stay with me on this:
First, the very beginning of the saga is a snippet of Bella talking about sacrificing herself for another. This is considered by all humanity to be the ultimate in selflessness.
Then, all throughout the saga, Bella keeps losing that which she loves and accepts
it (especially in New Moon). Eclipse is all about what she will ultimately give up in the future. Think of Bella at the end of Twilight -- all dressed up and hoping to be turned but being forced to dance instead. Now think of who she is at the end of Eclipse. She isn't giddy about becoming a vampire, she wants it yes, but isn't the young, love sick girl anymore. As Jazz Girl put it so well...Bella, on the other hand, has a very different attitude towards life, one we see from the very beginning of The Saga. Once Bella makes a decision or something has happened, she deals and moves on. She doesn't dwell and lament what's lost or decry the things in her life that changed.
She sees the change as the only way to truly live, but she now knows that it will come at a cost. She is eager to pay the cost because of the result. However, Andy, I don't think she had no regrets by the time the change occurred. By the wedding in BD, she finally understands that she is
going to lose something, but it is a sacrifice she makes gladly.
However, in BD, right before she finds out she is pregnant, she finally is willing to live as a human a few more years. She finally understands what the others have said, this change can never be reversed and is literally eternal. At last she sees her humanity as the gift it is, and now that she is willing to accept it, it is taken from her.
Her final act as a human is to save what the others believe is a monster. Bella isn't willing to see any of the frightening "monsters" that now fill her world as evil. Because of that, all of them love her. In the ultimate twist of fate, the tables are turned, and the "monsters" fear what Bella naturally loves. They assume
that the baby is an abomination and refuse to give the child the same acceptance that Bella gave them.
Bella's final act of human defiance and sacrifice blessed the family with their greatest gift. And she was willing to face a true death to do it.
From the text, I can only discern that SM didn't see vampires as inherently evil, but rather as something like fallen angels, immensely powerful and capable of unimaginable evil. I see them as being enhanced to a degree that they could indeed pass as gods (as the Romanian coven believed). Yet to fully achieve happiness in that state of being, they must be willing to give up the one thing that brings them the most joy -- human blood. Again, they must daily sacrifice to remain good.
Since the theme of sacrifice is so prevalent in the story, I believe that Nessie is there as both Bella's and Edward's reward for what they have been willing to give up. I also believe that this final act of ultimate sacrifice (giving up her life for something unknown) is what Stephenie saw as the cost of eternity.
I may not believe that a hybrid baby is a good or feasible cost for eternal happiness (especially one as perfect as her!! I've raised over a dozen toddlers, and NO ONE should have it that easy!), but after re-reading the pregnancy and birth, I truly believe that giving up her life for her daughter made Bella, in SM's mind, worthy of what she wanted.
I know, I'm being a sap, but BD failed me on only a few points, and I honestly think I understand why SM wrote it the way she did. I may not agree, but I understand.